A carbon neutral certification demonstrates your organisation’s commitment to decarbonisation as you cut your organisational or product footprint and compensate for any remaining emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets.
The road to Net Zero
Businesses play a critical role in accelerating the Net Zero transition. In addition to the essential task of setting and delivering Net Zero, good quality offsets are a key present-day supplement to emissions reductions aligned to a 1.5˚C pathway, and will continue to have an important role in the future.
What is a carbon neutral footprint?
Carbon neutral footprint certification sets out requirements for quantification and reduction of emissions, where the residual greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) are offset in accordance with PAS 2060.
It contributes to an organisation’s ongoing commitment to carbon reduction, and the compensation of remaining emissions through the purchase of high quality offsets. The certification is carried out in accordance with PAS 2060.
What is PAS 2060?
PAS 2060 is the internationally recognised specification for carbon neutrality published by BSI. It sets out the requirements for quantifying, reducing and offsetting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for organisations and products.
In order to achieve the certification, a company must:
- Measure the footprint within a clearly defined boundary (for example, the lifecycle of a product, or Scope 1 and 2 for organsations).
- Develop a qualifying explanatory statement (QES) including:
- A statement of commitment
- A timescale for achievement
- A carbon management plan and targets for GHG reductions
- A credible plan backed by investment to achieve ongoing emissions reductions to reduce reliance on offsets over time
- Purchase high quality offsets such as Gold Standard, VCS and Woodland Code UK to compensate for all remaining emissions.
Benefits of carbon neutral certification for your business
- Demonstrate your ongoing commitment to decarbonisation goals and the actions you are taking to achieve them
- Monitor your progress through an annual certification review
- Contribute to global decarbonisation efforts by reducing emissions and supporting high-quality environmental projects
- Align your business to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
How we can help
We certify organisations, products, and selected Scope 3 categories in accordance with PAS 2060.
Carbon neutral certification for organisations and sites
The Carbon Trust certifies organisations and sites when they have:
- A robustly measured footprint,
- A commitment to reducing year-on-year emissions evidenced in a carbon reduction plan, and
- Offset their remaining footprint with high quality carbon offsets.
Upon recertification, you must demonstrate the actual carbon reductions made to retain carbon neutral certification. The carbon neutral label can then be used to help you communicate your decarbonisation journey.
Carbon neutral certification for products
The Carbon Trust certifies products as carbon neutral when they have:
- A robustly measured footprint,
- A commitment to year-on-year emissions reductions evidenced in a carbon reduction plan, and
- Offset their remaining product footprint with high quality carbon offsets.
‘Certified carbon neutral’ label
Our ‘certified footprint’ label with a carbon neutral scope shows that the product footprint is achieving ongoing reductions, and any outstanding emissions are offset, in accordance with PAS 2060.
The certification is valid for one year, after which the product must be re-certified if it is to continue to use the label. Re-certification requires evidence that reductions have been achieved in the preceding period in both absolute and relative terms.
We advise clients that all products carrying this label must provide clear additional information about how it was achieved on the product where possible and through their own communications channels to ensure the highest degree of transparency.
We have recently reviewed (2023) and revised the Carbon Trust Product Carbon Footprint usage guidelines to ensure increased clarity and transparency. We regularly review consumer and market regulation and insights, and update our labels and guidelines accordingly. Therefore, it may be possible that some of the older versions of labels still appear on products in the market. In the interest of limiting waste, packaging with the old labels will run its course before new labels are implemented.
Find out more about product carbon footprint labelling.
What is the difference between carbon neutrality and Net Zero?
Boundary: Carbon neutrality has a minimum requirement of covering Scope 1 and 2 emissions, while Scope 3 is encouraged. Net Zero must cover Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Level of ambition: An organisation does not need to cut its emissions in line with a certain trajectory to be carbon neutral. However, to be Net Zero, an organisation must reduce its emissions along a 1.5˚C trajectory across Scope 1, 2 and 3.
Approach to residual emissions: To achieve carbon neutrality, an organisation must purchase carbon offsets that either result in carbon reductions, efficiencies, or sinks to the sum of residual emissions after reductions have been made. For Net Zero, an organisation must purchase additional GHG removals that either remove or store carbon.
How can carbon neutrality help us achieve Net Zero?
Net Zero is a transformational, long-term commitment. Carbon neutrality can be an important stepping stone on the journey to Net Zero by requiring commitments to decarbonise and through investments in high quality offsets. Businesses and organisations can play a vital role in reaching Net Zero and accelerating the transition, by investing in mitigation actions beyond their value chains.
Why the Carbon Trust?
We are the world’s leading independent certification body for carbon footprints. Our certification process follows the only internationally recognised carbon neutral specification, PAS 2060, a standard which was developed by BSI.
We ensure your carbon accounting and carbon management plans are robust, and your purchased offsets are credible. We only accept offsets which are deemed as high quality as outlined in the PAS2060 guidance, such as the Gold Standard or VCS. For a full list, please get in touch.